Classic Car Overview
1966 Plymouth Valiant In May 1957, Chrysler president Lester Lum Tex Colbert established a committee to develop a competitor in the burgeoning compact car market which included the popular VW Beetle, the new American Motors Rambler and upcoming entries from GM, Ford and Studebaker. Virgil Exner designed a car that was smaller and lighter than a full-size car without sacrificing passenger and luggage space. Originally named the Falcon after Exners 1955 Chrysler Falcon concept car, the vehicle was renamed the Valiant honoring Henry Ford IIs request to use the original name for the Ford Falcon. For consignment, a car originally manufactured in Canada as a 9T model, now makes its way to the USA and our consigner decides to make it a rodder. And an awesome job was done if I must say. Utilizing the tasteful designs of the original 1966 car, a frame up custom build was completed, and now a powerhouse on wheels sits before our wandering eyes here in the wings of Classic Auto Mall. Fully street able and street legal. Read on and I bet you are smiling at the end?! Exterior A side view of this car and it will tell you that Virgil Exner certainly had different on mind when he penned this design. This example now has been a bit simplified upfront blackened but retaining its grille surround in chrome along with the round headlight bezels and bumper below, but the bumper is now blackened. Some bling has been retained in the front quarter topper trimmings, drip edges, window surrounds and belt line moldings at the tops of the doors. Wheel wells and rockers have it too and it breaks up the black very nicely, as well as shows some of the highlighted original design, like the rear window and roofline shape. Speaking of shape, take a gander at the mini basket handle top with a trim running across the roof delineating the B pillar. Another Exner highlight to be different on this compact car. Chrome and trimmings are very nice with a few slight areas of dimpling and some paint rub off on the badges, but they are original. On back a split oval taillight shares space between the rear quarter and the back vertical panel after the trunk. Side pipes allow the now monster engine to breathe easily, and now massive drag wheels are installed on back. (rear axle has been narrowed 9 inches to accommodate these biggies). Interior Retaining most of its original charm all in black, we see original low back buckets, snappy mid 60s center console and original dash. A rally steering wheel has been added, and some aftermarket hanging gauges, large tachometer and shift light is seen hanging below the dash above the center console. A roll bar has been added and it has removable side posts for easier access. The rear seat is no longer, now replaced with larger wheel wells and an access panel for the rear drive components for wrenching. Black carpet covers the floors and a nice black headliner is above. The trunk has been re-configured to accommodate a fuel cell and battery with shutoff. Drivetrain Flipping the hood, we note bolted into this custom fabricated frame is now a 440ci V8 topped with Carter AFB dual 4-barrel carbs. There is custom exhaust and headers to evacuate gasses quickly, and plenty of braided stainless tubes, aluminum radiator, chromed valve covers, and competition ignition are now installed. On back is a 727 transmission pushing power back to the Ford narrowed by 9 inches rear. Undercarriage The top may look mostly like a mild mannered sedan driven to church on Sundays, but it goes to the race track on Saturday Nights and you can drive it home! Underneath we see plenty of racing mods strapped to a custom built frame. All clean and shiny with no rust under here, just racing suspension, and front disc brakes now installed. Drive-Ability A true eliminator, this car fires up with a real presence, makes lots-o-noise and attracts attention due to its unusual format being a racer and a Valiant. It performs very well, able to smoke the tires at any time, all the while feeling stable. Its a car you could take out for a Sunday drive, or race it on Saturday night. Exner design, custom built power, frame, and drag accessories, this once grocery getter is now nothing to fool around with. Serious power, beautiful build all wrapped into 1966 styling and plenty of chrome trimmings. I guarantee you will be the only one in your neighborhood with such a build. You can smile now!